Limited role of aortic size in the genesis of acute type A aortic dissection

Eugenio Neri, Lucio Barabesi, Dimitrios Buklas, Luca A. Vricella, Antonio Benvenuti, Enrico Tucci, Carlo Sassi, Massimo Massetti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Increased dimension of the aortic root and proximal aorta is considered a significant risk factor for catastrophic events that involve the ascending aorta. The objective of this study was to determine the possible correlation between pre-dissection aortic diameter and the occurrence of Stanford type A aortic dissection. Methods: Samples of dissected ascending aortas were obtained from 220 patients at the time of their operation. Two groups were identified: patients with connective tissue disorders (Group 1, n = 94) and those without (Group 2, n = 126). Measurements of the true (intimal) lumen were conducted and extrapolated as reliable approximation of pre-dissection aortic diameter. The possible association of intimal diameter with anthropometric and demographic data was analyzed. Results: Median aortic diameter was, respectively, 41.8 and 41.3 mm for patients with and without connective tissue disorders (41.4 mm for the entire cohort). Data analysis indicated that 57% of patients had aortic diameter above 40 mm, while patients with frank aneurysm accounted only for 10%; this proportion was higher in Group 1 compared to Group 2 (17.2% vs 4.7%). Poor or no correlation was demonstrated between aortic size and any of the anthropometric or demographic variables essayed. Significant subgroup differences were found among patients with a history of cigarette smoking, hypertension, diabetes, chronic renal insufficiency, and bicuspid aortic valve. Conclusion: Although aortic diameter remains a strong indication for preventive surgery in patients with inherited connective tissue disorders, acute aortic dissection occurs rarely in the setting of true ascending aortic aneurysms, and despite normal or near-normal aortic size in more than one-third of subjects. Dissection superimposing on small aortic diameters can be regarded as an expression of substantial functional tissue susceptibility to aortic catastrophic events.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)857-863
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean Journal of Cardio-thoracic Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Aorta
  • Dissection
  • Marfan syndrome

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Limited role of aortic size in the genesis of acute type A aortic dissection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this